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The Town of Eden wants to change how it assesses town recreation fees on new construction and is considering charging $700 per lot for most new construction rather than basing the fee on a percentage of the land value as it currently does.

The proposed changes were discussed briefly at Monday's Town Board meeting. Further input will be sought from the Recreation Advisory Board before a public hearing is scheduled on any revisions to the fees that are part of the town's Recreation Fee Structure and Law.

The recommended changes stem from concerns that the current fee system is not legal since the town has been assessing the fees based on a percentage of the value of improved lots. Currently, recreation fees only apply to lots in major subdivisions and are based on 10 percent of the value of improved lots.

Town engineering consultant Andrew C. Reilly noted in a Nov. 6 memo to the Town Board that the current law is difficult to use and sometimes results in large inequities in fees.

The Planning Board made the $700-per-lot recommendation in a Dec. 15 letter to the Town Board. Planning Board member Kevin O'Gorman suggested a $1,000-per-lot fee, according to the letter.

The town plans to designate the recreation money for reserve accounts set aside for recreation-green space, recreation and playground equipment, building repairs and improvements, as well as landscaping for town recreation property.

Until now, the owner of a single-family home newly built on 15 acres would pay 10 percent of the value of the land. But if the same size home were built on a one-acre lot, the property owner would have to pay 10 percent of the value of one acre.

"It seems to us that single-family dwellings should be assessed the same recreation fee regardless of the size lot it is constructed on," Planning Board Chairman Warren N. Wittek said in the letter. "It would seem that the impact a single-family house has on recreation would remain pretty much the same, regardless of how large the lot is."

Councilman George F. Zittel noted that the fee schedule was last changed four years ago.

The Planning Board also is recommending that new homes built in minor subdivisions, as well as individual lots on established roads, pay the same recreation fee as those in major subdivisions. Duplexes also would come under the fee structure.

In addition, fees would be assessed for town houses, condominiums, conversions to single-family homes, apartment buildings, cluster development and mobile home parks. Fees for those units are proposed to be 75 percent of whatever fee the Town Board approves for single-family homes.

Planning officials are not requesting recreation fees for commercial property, since the town is trying to encourage growth of new businesses.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Brett R. Hammond as chairman of the Eden Site Review Committee and member of the Eden Economic Development Committee.

At the end of the meeting, outgoing Republican Supervisor John S. Tsakos urged Supervisor-elect Glenn Nellis, a Democrat, to keep Tsakos' staff on board and give them a chance to provide continuity, assessing their performance after a few months instead of replacing them immediately.

The Town Board's reorganization meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Friday in Town Hall, 2795 E. Church St.

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